When hiring a criminal defense attorney, the cost is most likely your number one concern. They are one of the highest-paid professionals, and when you think of their job, it is easy to understand why. You can interview several attorneys and get quotes from each one. If you do interview a few attorneys, you will certainly notice a gap in price. There are quite a few reasons why that gap exists, and it’s important to know when you should go with the highest bid.
There are a few factors that will always come into play when you get a price quote from an attorney. From location and experience especially to the type of charges you face, you can expect a wide range of prices from different attorneys. You’ll also find the pay schedules can vary greatly between attorneys, so be sure to inquire about retainers and final payments in your interviews.
The cost-of-living difference applies to many aspects of your life, from groceries to utilities and especially taxes. The cost of an attorney is no different. Location plays a huge part in the cost of an attorney. The closer you get to a major city, the more expensive an attorney will be. A very rough average cost for a criminal defense lawyer is $1,500. This means that is a base number to get an idea of where to start. It could be more, and it could be less, but at least it is a starting point as a retainer.
In the world of jobs and careers, the more experience you gain, the more you get promoted and the more money you typically make. An attorney’s experience will gain them more money. A seasoned attorney’s experience may cost more initially, but when they get your case closed quickly and the charges reduced, it is worth it. A less experienced lawyer may take more time, more days in court, a longer trial, and end up billing you for a significant amount of money by the end of the case.
Attorneys will interview you for the details about the charges brought against you so they can get an idea of what to quote you for time and money. The bigger the job, the more it’ll cost. Felonies are typically much more expensive because they need a substantial amount of court time during the trial as well as massive amounts of resources to build a court strategy. A misdemeanor is usually simple and straight-forward for an attorney and requires less preparation and less time in court.
Some law firms will focus their practice on a specific type of law. This does two things: builds experience in specialty law and builds a successful practice that becomes very lucrative. When you specialize in a specific type of criminal law, you will have less competition. Your expertise will get them in and out of court quicker, and you can charge more for getting them the results they want. Their referrals become your best business, and the cycle will continue.
To build any business, you need connections. You network with clients just as well as fellow professionals. As an attorney grows their network and as time passes, they will have fellow professionals in high places. Perhaps some of their network connections were former prosecutors and could give them insight into a case. Connections make an attorney more valuable, and they know that. They can charge a client more, knowing they have those connections that can make the case quick and easy for them.
The biggest expense that an attorney has to cover is resources. This includes lab work, investigators, and paralegals, to name a few. When an attorney works for a firm with these resources at their disposal, it expedites the pre-planning and strategizing for the case. Because time is money, an attorney can charge a high flat fee, wrap up the case quickly, and make a decent amount of money off the case.
Now when you interview with different attorneys, you’ll have a better understanding of why the price gaps exist. If you want a specialized lawyer, you’ll probably pay more but be done with the case sooner. The more serious the crime, the higher the cost. The better experience and court record that a lawyer has, the more they will charge. Just remember to weigh the pros and cons of each lawyer and their cost before making your decision.